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    Sale 2166

    Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper

    7 May 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 116

    Edgar Degas (1834-1917)

    Tête de femme

    Price Realised  

    Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
    Tête de femme
    stamped with signature 'Degas' (Lugt 658; lower left)
    pastel on paper laid down on paper
    14 1/8 x 12 1/8 in. (35.9 x 30.8 cm.)
    Drawn circa 1880-1885


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    "Portraiture was as important for Degas as landscape for the Impressionists with whom he had associated. Portraits constitute more than half Degas' entire output during the first 20 years of his career and a third of his whole oeuvre. Considering that Degas had independent means and these portraits, mostly of friends, were not done to earn money, it is evident that portraiture was a means of artistic experiment for him, and an important element of his search for a 'modern' art. As he himself put it, he wanted to transform 'a character head into a study of modern sensibility.' His portraits, whether of his family, of his friends, of himself, of Paris celebrities, are both fresh and monumental, some seeming as ageless as ancient Roman portraits, others as elegant as a Bronzino or as tormented as a Munch" (F. Baumann, Degas Portraits, London, 1994, n.p.).

    Provenance

    Estate of the artist; Fourth sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 2-4 July 1919, lot 17.
    Georges Petit, Paris; Estate sale, Société Georges Petit, Paris, 1933, lot 159.
    Henders collection, Paris.
    Molinar collection.
    M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York.
    John Levy Galleries, New York (by 1948).
    Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 14 May 1986, lot 105.
    Galerie Jan Krugier, Geneva.
    Acquired from the above by the late owner, 1988.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN COLLECTION


    Literature

    P.-A. Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, Paris, 1946, vol. II, p. 352, no. 620 (illustrated, p. 353).
    F. Russoli and F. Minervino, L'opera completa di Degas, Milan, 1970, p. 114, no. 600 (illustrated).